What Do You Need To Know About Caring For Your Parents?

The recent health crisis has made a lot of us think again about our lifestyles and family relationships. Perhaps we want to work on ourselves to mend bridges that may have been burnt in the past. Or we want to make the effort to reconnect more with family. For many people, thinking about their ageing parents and how they want to arrange care or become more involved has been a big factor - not being able to visit those who are elder or have vulnerable immune systems has had its toll. As the world slowly gets back to a new kind of normal, plenty of people have been left thinking about how to take on more caring responsibilities. If this is your situation, there are a few things you need to consider to make it a smoother process. 

What Type Of Support Is Needed?

Helping to care for your parents can be a very different scenario depending on what type of care they need. If they are still relatively mobile and independent, then you may just need to provide some support with certain daily activities such as providing a lift to medical appointments, helping to get their grocery shopping, support with home maintenance tasks like painting fences or weeding a garden, or provide some assistance with meal preparation. These tasks are usually fairly easy to manage and a lot of the strain can be offset by using technology, so setting up an online shopping account for them or a repeat prescription for medication with an online pharmacy. However, if your parents have ill health or other complications then it can become a little more complex and there may be tasks you might feel uncomfortable handling, such as help with dressing, bathing and going to the toilet, or having to use catheter kits or similar devices. In these cases, it's usually best to look at other care options to take care of the activities your parent needs.

What Legal Or Financial Issues Are There?

Aside from physical care, your ageing parent may also begin to need support with legal or financial matters, and might lose the capacity to manage these things properly themselves. Try to plan ahead in terms of writing a will or selecting someone who can be nominated to take control of these matters when your parent is no longer able. Remember that even older adults who are cognitively well can be more vulnerable to financial manipulation or scams. Having an open discussion about financial affairs can feel a little uncomfortable, but it needs to be done for everyone's peace of mind.

Is Their Residence Suitable?

Appropriate housing is also something that needs careful consideration. If there are mobility issues, can relevant adaptations be made, such as adding rails or a walk-in Bath, a ramp to access the property in a wheelchair if needed or having a stairlift installed? Sometimes even simple things like changing the layout and making sure there aren't any trip hazards can help enormously. In other situations, where independent living is no longer possible, you may need to consider alternatives such as bringing your elderly parent to live with you or even looking into a care home. It's a big decision, so approach it gradually and collaboratively.

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